The Dirtiest Of Not so Secrets, This Music may Carry us away…

I deeply understand the close relationship that the boom bap has had with the people in the struggle. I appreciate the knowledge of Asheru with his backpack trying to be on some very other shit. I am down with Lil Wayne, Whiz Khalifa, and Drake co-opting and taking over what was once a sport exclusively as a way for a white boy to get out of his own ghetto. But that is not here or there. I am down with Slim Jesus making fun of the madness that is Chiraq. I am perfectly fine with the fact that Future don’t say no god damn words in his songs. Its all okay. Then a Meek Mill song came on the radio as I was driving with the windows down, and the DJ on 92.3 had to pull it back and I was damn grateful he did. I regress right here, I am all about Future. That man is the Kieth Richards of the 21st century and I aint got nothing but love for his music. My point Is, that I don’t have hate for any of them. I got nothing but respect for any African American Man who has managed to survive the struggle to get to an age where none of us thought we would ever see. Its a beautiful thing to see Bhusta Rhymes turning 45, and to this day almost no one can go toe to toe with him. Its amazing that Eminem has hit 44, and blackballed that two bit machine gun Kelly for hitting on his daughter. You don’t fuck with the king. All these Rappers out here claiming that they was the greatest that ever was will be the first to give props to Em.
I follow all these beefs between entertainers who maybe was one about that life like Game getting into it with so and so, and Drake beefing with his kosher butcher, and The entire adult hip hop world wondering why Young thug is wearing little girl dresses. Drake is all looking like he done forgot all the soul parts of himself and took some Nintendo music and mixed it with some very bad dancing to create a song about a technology that doesn’t really exist any more. With the exception that something really has to be done about Stitches the Rapper. He is a God Damn Super Villain and belongs to be banished from hip hop and sent to live with the Juggalos who will accept his strange murderous snitchy son of a cop ways. Seriously, he terrifies me. Who takes on someone from 3-6 like its the thing to do? But you are gonna get hate, and it all comes from fear. People don’t hate because they are taught to hate by their parents. They are taught to hate every day in school. Its not a race thing. You take all the African American kids out of the equation and they are still taught hate in a million different ways. We come from people who wanted to instill fear in us and a respect for authority, then it all backfired and we realized that Authoritarian symbiotic relationships were never going to work out. Trickle down economics was the biggest load of bullox imaginable.
What makes me so damn confused though, is that even the crossdressing self proclaimed Alien Young Thug is just choosing to go the Prince 1984 route and I am not gonna fault a man for maybe being right that crazy clothes get you the girls. Its better than that Kirko Bangs, he kind of look like a date rapist but its probably nothing. I don’t mean to be dissing, but this is what Hip Hop has become. Gone is the voice of Tupac letting you know truths that we are only starting to understand. You don’t even care about Bob Marley’s Kids, all of whom are seeds of the prophet. Instead we focus on TI and Tiny. I will not say ill on TI, he is the god damn man. I don’t have the hate in my heart for the struggle that the industry puts you through. All this pride and poor impulse control leading to resentment when so often you have plenty. The money turn us into monsters. We gave up on even saying words. What the fuck happened with this Beautiful Cultural Dream Deferred?
I took a hate crimes class taught in my junior year of college. The class was taught by a retired FBI agent, kinda nerdy wasn’t really much of the cop type. I took this class at WVU, where there may have been five African Americans in a class of 290. Right near the front of the class I sat and week after week experienced the horrors of what hate brings to the soul of man. I learned about the boy who was dragged by a chain through the streets of East Texas, and the way the whole town tried to keep that white boy from suffering. I learned that the largest growing sector oh music is HATE music. White Supremacist Racial Holy War garbage. I learned that within Ohio alone there are over 1000 different white supremacist organizations that include pillars of their communities and a great deal of police men.
So I want to ask why. When A Strong Black man lives to see the second half of his twenties, isn’t incarcerated, is educated, has good credit and some success in the limelight you going to fall into the trap of jealousy? When for the most part none of us learned how not to live without. We don’t need no chains, we don’t need to work our ass off for a woman who is going to bleed you dry and leave you when you need her the most. We have forgotten what Ice Burg Slim taught us in his books. Somewhere along the line its gotten to the point where grown ass men are texting each other emojiis to make sure they are both wearing tight pants to the club. That slim boy aint the one you need to be hating on, black on black crime is like two men hunting unicorns. Real motherfuckers need to come together and not fall into the trap because we know damn sure the game changed so much we don’t want none of these kids living like we did. No more sacks for the little homies, give em a beat machine instead. No more running for the little homies, put a microphone in their hand and give em a stage. Music is the great redemption of all of mankind, and only the ones who brought us every great contribution to any music worth listening to the have nots need to bond over these words that point out the hilarity of just how bad it really is outside the ivory towers. The police said fuck us long before NWA said a damn thing, if it isn’t proud Black kings, its Mexicans and natives all to perpetuate hate that comes from thousands of years of actually thinking that pale skin meant shit? The Enemies are many, its time to stop beefing over stupid things and buying the toys of the enemy who tells the little poor kids that all you gotta do is be GOOD at selling drugs and then you could be Jay-Z. I love Jay-Z but I feel like he may be the worst thing to happen to a generation of entrepreneurial failures in his chosen profession. Its bad for the community, but things are changing. The Fatherless child is something I see less and less, the deadbeat dad was our parents generation thing, like eating too much acid cuz they didn’t know a good dose. I know so many strong, proud, pay their child support fathers out here? Its became shameful to be a deadbeat, and everyone I fucks with has a strong part in their children’s life.
Hip hop is no longer the underground influence on America. It is the multi conglomerated economic behemoth that dictates all aspects of society. It is a civil rights movement of its own, breaking down barriers and showing every kid who got the short end of the stick that he could express himself in a way that would channel his rage and give him something to hope for other than the way of the gun or being shipped off to another white mans war. Hip hop kept the blues in the OutKast songs singing Heyaaaa! At the White House. Don’t get discouraged that the game is fucked up and you have to be a kingpin in order to make yourself even get anyone to give a fuck about your rap game, pay to play is the only game in town any more because everyone who does it for the music you aint never heard of. So think about that next time you start some dumb shit that gets whoever yall think are on Tupac and Bigg’s level now a days.

Blak Jak Keeps Roots While Fusing Dancehall with HipHop

When I first moved to Philadelphia I got to discover real dance hall reggae through the Jamaican immigrants that I worked with in the kitchen at Monk’s Cafe, where I was lucky enough to be schooled in culinary arts as well as the music of the Island. After a while I got to meet Brian Redman whose gifted DJ work and friendship elevated my appreciation for the work of Elephant Man, Sister Nancy, Kiprich and a host of other brilliant artists. There was no better music to dance to in my opinion at that time… Especially if you appreciated the way a woman can move to those beats. It was a revolution for my young soul, satisfying things inside myself that I never even knew existed. Backwood blunts smoked in the club, my first visit to the Middlecreek Community center, and the first vision of the sweet grind of a woman who knew how to dance to this perfect sound. Fast forward 16 years and in my research to understand hiphop better and my work as a producer and promoter allowed me to get to do a little work with Daytona Beach’s own Blak Jak, who I first heard because of his remix of 50 Cent’s “Many Men.” Which to this day may be my favorite rendition of the song. His work on that remix is inspirational, and it sounds like the song was meant to be touched by the island.
With his catchy hook-phrase “They Should Know,” Blak Jak keeps his island roots pure as he is influenced by American music as he claws his way up the incredible talent pool that is Dance Hall Reggae. He is smashing up Reverbnation and producing very original music in a genre that is sometimes plagued by derivative copies. The tradition of remixing is strong in Jamaican Music, making a great song your own in a way that is almost like the way a DJ makes existing tracks their own. Blak Jak has a way of surprising you by the way you think you are listening to another Rap track until that voice of his breaks over the bars adding the soul of Dance Hall. The man is prolific in the amount of music he records and produces, constantly releasing new after new, all of them individual and classic in their own way. I felt honored when he came to me to help him on his track Pray for Me. Which I took a little over the top when I remixed it to sound a lot more Dub than he wanted, but after some collaboration we got the track right for him.
Blak Jak’s music takes me back to that first boat party I was taken on by my man Neal, a block captain Shotta turned chef who gifted me with the chance to be immersed in a strong and vibrant Jamaican community. Takes me to the moment he took me into his backyard and had my vegetarian ass put a bullet between a goat’s eyes before slitting the neck and hoisting it up to let the blood drain out. His music comes heavy with a hypnotic touch that gets under your skin and into your mind. He stays positive and avoids bragging which I appreciate in an artist, that humility comes through even though “They Should Know.” If you are sleeping on this quickly coming up artist take this opportunity to get to his web page and take a listen to something sweet and new. He truly has the mind of a God and a heart of a Beast.

-Franky Bricks

Blak Jak’s Website

Unkl Dadi; A Marine, A rapper, and a Truly Decent Human

I was introduced to Evan through the internet, despite both being from West Virginia and running with similar people we missed each other in real life until I stumbled across his video for “Look What you Made Me Do.” Instantly I became a fan. I am constantly looking for the real in hip-hop and to have slept on this guy when he came from a state that sees very little recognition for the amount of talent that comes out of it. Here was a song, right on topic for the times we live in with a fresh perspective on an incident involving a near school shooting. Instead of railroading this poor kid who made a mistake bringing a gun to school with ill intent, here was someone who decided to make a song from the point of view of a bullied and mentally unstable young kid who was bullied to the point of taking action against all the adversity he was facing. I guess it takes a decorated war veteran to be able to even write a song that understands the unfortunate mental issues that can easily go along with violence. I was hooked like a hungry bass to the line and found everything I could on Unkl Dadi, becoming more and more excited as I listened to music that related to the kind of poverty I knew and grew up in, someone who really knew just how bad being poor in Appalachia can be and someone who was actively bringing attention to these issues and doing everything he can to lift his home community.
After getting to know him a little bit, my respect for this man grew. I found out he had only been Rapping for about a year and was shocked because the man’s skills are prodigal for someone who has only been working a mic for about a year. Then I saw his GoFundme efforts reaching its goal to donate to a youth center in his hometown. I was there when he was made fun of on Moby in the Morning, for his appearance and his use of profanity in some of his songs. I say some, because there are songs that are completely free of profanity, but not a single one that doesn’t have a touch of brilliance and authenticity. I watched his video where he walks into a face food joint and buys a ton of food and his whole video is him handing out this food to the homeless on the streets. It makes me so angry when people lose the message in the superficial, yeah he looks like he is from rural Appalachia and that is going to make a lot of people instantly write him off as some kind of joke, because lets face it people been writing West Virginia off from the jump.
Now he is on the verge of launching his Deezy LP, giving away almost all of the copies that he had pressed to his dedicated fans. Including myself, because I am definitely a fan. Anyone who comes back from war with the positive attitude that this man has immediately earns my respect before he even picks up the mic to shred it. His hooks are vicious and his words always say something. Even when he is writing something he knows is a little more commercial than what he wants to say, he is maintaining his authenticity. I needed to write this piece as an intro to my man’s work as a preview to the interview that he has granted me. Because before I introduce the man officially I want people to step back and see all the positive that this man is about before they judge the book by the cover. On this page I try and only write about legends, but like his song says he truly is “A Legend in The Making.” Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with the creator of true 304 Hip-Hop, till then Check these videos… My man’s work is damn nice.

-Franky Bricks

UnklDadi’s Fly ass web page.

Now Offering Artwork By Marcy’s Finest Graphic Artist Young Los

Now available on Bars Over Beats, Graphic Art by Marcy’s Finest. The Graphic Arts Master. Available in our store. Catch it before the sale ends in a week. 


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The Sad State of Pay To Play

So having some time on my hands and wanting to help out my other family, I got a phone call from my Godson’s father and my best friend for going on ten years. We are always scheming on some plan to start a business of some kind, yet for years all we have done is talked about it. Several million dollar opportunities have slipped through our fingers, and the last time I approached him with an idea for a business and he turned it down we both missed out on being able to retire quite comfortably at too young of an age. It isn’t as if I am a stranger to starting a business, having run one of my own and several belonging to others, so when I got the call I was skeptical at first.
Would I be accepted? Into a hip hop community in A brand new area where I had no real connections. But my blood asked me to look out for his younger brother Jikon and his friend K.Buttons. I agreed immediately because I am a Pittbull, a loyal soldier willing to do anything for family. Really though, I had no idea what I was getting into. The Music business is nothing like it was when I was 19, running 100 ft. of mic cable to a a junky rockstar who wouldn’t leave the bathroom till her dealer showed up. Promotion back then meant flyering strip club parking lots for our weekly after hour parties in philly. I am thinking… I totally go this holmes.
Two weeks in I realize the game is nothing like it used to be, its all cross marketing and whoever has the budget for promotion gets paid and has their music played. You can always pray to go viral on your own, but its going to take time and money to build a business. So I find myself creating web pages, writing for a hip hop magazine, getting a global distribution deal for my artists and interact my way to thousands of followers omn twitter. Along the way hearing music of a quality and depth you would never hear on the radio. Every morning I wake up and am exposed to the best hip hop you can believe from people who are just making it themselves and promoting it themselves and starving all through it.
I try to advocate a middle gound, A singer songwriter approach. If what you love is music, isn’t it good enough to make a decent living at it? I mean it used to be if you were a talented musician people would pay you for your work. In this digital era when I can’t even remember the last party where a DJ had vynil everything is about connections. Real ones, and as many scammers that are out there you get the gist real quick of who is doing real business for people. The point is that we live in a time where if done right, someone can actually live off of making music. I will say it takes a team, and much to often artists make terrible businessmen.
So here I am on this intense learning curve just doing whatever I can to help my family by teaching myself every aspect of this new way to promote. I have no real desire for anything but to serve, since service is worship. If I spend my time and money on helping another reach his dream it is well worth it. So I study, use my sales experience from a past life and do the best I can to work for artists that want to remain independent, but I will attest at exactly how much work that really means. It means tweeting the entire day, having real conversations. It means mastering tracks and getting EP’s and mixtapes ready, printing CD’s, selling them same CD’s. Itunes, Tunecore, and thanks to some people in Austria we now have global distribution. I have to say I am overwhelmed, but the truth of the matter is that I love hip hop. K.Buttons and JikonthaIkon set the bars up like pins that they knock down with strikes every time. I was expecting notes, intense practice, nervousness, but the first time I was in the studio with K.Buttons, he walked in and right off the dome spit the feature, managed to mention me, and then ad lib the decent song into a monster.
It was in that moment I knew it was time to work with this guy, calm cool an collected he bobbed his head to the beat for a few minutes and in less than ten minutes turn an ok song into a great one. So here I am totally impressed thinking he could get a show no problem, he’s got a catalogue of music that is all professional and ready to go, but it hasn’t because Washington, DC and this entire DMV has an LA complex and everything is pay to play around here. I realize there are a lot of wanna be rappers out there, but I can’t help but feel the next Tupac already gave up making the next Ready to Die because he has to get a job to support a family or a greedy baby mother. I encourage every single Rap Artist in the DMV to book tours throughout the rest of the country where the artist gets paid. Everyone gets a cut, but you aren’t playing in most places on whats in your wallet, but the words in your dome and your ability to connect to an audience.
Recently during a meeting where I had to shell out a bunch of loot for some people to give one of my mans a chance supposedly, I had to sign a non disclosure agreement supposedly for my own good because they were going to give me insight that we couldn’t get no where else. So I can’t tell you what happened but the whole situation was as whack as you could imagine and then some. It was the least professional shit I ever saw in my life, and I aint gonna say anything that was said or who was involved but the meeting happened in some Hud housing and the tracks were listened to on a broken stereo. That’s how artists are treated in this area and its a God Damn Shame.
Connect with every out of town outlet you can, and if you want to stay independent and not end up like so many broke ass dope ass rappers, take it on the road. Even if this area just cares about the money, there is an entire world out there that will pay for talent. Don’t fake your way through this, what satisfaction can you get as an emcee if you just got there because you spent more than the next guy. I can’t help but think it is destroying a beautiful artform. This is just a BLOG though, and what do I know.

-Franky Bricks


The Value of Music; Doing What You Got To Do

There are those opportunities where one can feel a little out of place, all of a sudden the bright lights and glare of the Big Apple can change anyone’s view on how life is and can be. In a place where there is so much talent crammed into Five Burroughs, the music pouring out of Bodegas and being discussed in board rooms. This is the new era of music, we have moved beyond the place that the tools are financially prohibitive to create a career out of what we all love in one form or another. I was lucky enough to be brought along to an industry party where the room was full of people deciding what is worth listening to and what it is worth.
On one hand I was struck with the feeling that it was a room full of Dinosaurs, people from a bygone era desperately trying to survive what can only be described as an extinction event. The major labels all trying to figure out how to survive in a world where anyone can do it themselves with a little talent. People like Earl Sweatshirt threaten the entire institution. The other thing I could feel in that room of egos and brilliance, sometimes in the same corporeal form trying to evolve, knowing that it has to evolve in order to keep up with this post-rapacious world of doing the utmost to make sure the artist is the last to see the fruits of their labor. Company executives undervaluing the talent seems to still be the norm, but the change is in the wind.
Each little popup label, going through all of the new tools available now has the very same access to deciding how to sell their music, how to turn it into desperately needed cash so that they can simply do what really matters to them. Making music that reaches somebody out there and lifts the heart and relieves the pain, even just momentarily. In this fast paced conference where the Goliath institutions of music scramble to maintain their relevence in a field of Artist dreams I can still believe that Music is priceless, real talent cannot be monetized, and that the future of music is in the hands of the Artist.

-Franky Bricks


The Effects of Tupac on a Young White Mind

The first collection, or discography I ever collected was that of Tupac, and I had everything. It wasn’t an obsession, it was just this feeling like he was talking to me that I couldn’t escape. While my own lifelong poverty, and my missed chances of white privileged that I wanted nothing part of gave me an ear that could appreciate the struggle in a way that many people couldn’t. I would never be so bold as to make the claim that you had to be a part of the struggle to appreciate this prophet’s music.
I played the shit out of it, gave it to every sympathetic friend I could, trying to share this trans formative experience with those who had the chance to take something from it no matter what culture they grew out of. He had something for everyone, and as years past when his struggle became one of violence and confrontation we all failed him by reaching to him to not martyr himself for a cause that Nas would so harshly describe so soon after Tupac’s Death, the music was still amazing. It touched, it told, it held anyone willing to listen and that is what made his ability transcendent, Happy birthday Mr. Shakur. We love you like you couldn’t know. You made so many of us who we are, Though if you had been alive you would be let down by all of us because so many heard, but so many didn’t really listen.
Years later I found myself wishing I had Thug Life Tattooed on my chest as I made the mistakes that Jay-Z told me were the way to succeed, but I stayed a blank check because a biker told me as long as I wanted to stay under the radar to avoid the tats. While my father was around, he knew I was a bad seed and lost interest in me once I gave up sports, and once we had it out he told me I would never amount to anything and that no one would ever love me. A prophetic curse to say the least, So maybe Mr. Shakur was better off without his father. Whatever the recipe was that created him, he came about as close to perfect as a man could be.

-Franky Bricks



Don’t You Know Home is Where The Hatred Is?

Home Is Where The Hatred Is

So I have an assignment on Gil Scot-Heron, and I want to focus on his impact on the culture of Hip Hop, keep it positive. Then there is the side of me that wants to keep it 100…. For the magazine I am going to stick to the Revolution Will Not Be Televised poetry, but for me and all of my readers I want to talk about the other part of him that is bared in the words of my favorite Home Is Where The Hatred Is. I admit I came to the game late, being raised in a more Latin and Caucasian environment I was almost twenty four before I got hip. I was busy reading dead white poets, and then I stumbled on Vulture, and I was never the same. Right after reading his novel I found a record and put it on and listened to Home Is Where The Hatred Is on repeat 4 times. I was struck dumb. The brutal honesty of it, and nothing in my life prepared me for when I fell in love with someone who became a junky more than the words of that song.
It gave me a frame of reference to understand the most tortured and true love of my life. “A junky walking home…” Nah I can’t even do it justice and you guys need to hear the words from himself
A junkie walking through the twilight I’m on my way home I left three days ago but no one seems to know I’m gone
Home is where the hatred is, home is filled with pain And it might not be such a bad idea If I never, never went home again Stand as far away from me as you can and ask me why
Hang on to your rosary beads Close your eyes to watch me die You keep sayin’, kick it, quit it Kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it
God, but did you ever try to turn your sick soul Inside out so that the world can watch you die Home is where I live, inside my white power dreams Home was once an empty vacuum that’s filled now With my silent screams
Home is where the needle marks Try to hear my broken heart And it might not be such a bad idea If i never, never went home again
Home again, home again, home again Kick it quit it, kick it quit it, kick it quit it Kick it, can`t go home again.

Now if there is any words that sum up the pain of addiction I do not know them and I would love to hear them. I have been there, stumbling through the painless life fuzzed over in a warm light of perfect selfishness and I know. Not like he did, not like the girl I loved did, but I got a taste of that sort of submission and the tradeoff that comes with that life. That place that was so eloquently described in the film Rock’N’Rolla as “Curl Up and Die… And it’s a dark place indeed.”
The fact that the man lived to be so old reinforces the stereotype that a junkie who doesn’t die young merely lives a long time and withers in pain. Realizing that happiness is something that must be worked very hard at to attain, we can all learn from the words of this great man, who just had a different path just like we all do.

-Franky Bricks

#Gil Scot-Heron